Mango salsa

Mango salsa

mango-salsa

Mango salsa

While the weather is still so warm I thought I would do a real old favorite which is great with fish, chicken or even on the side of a curry. You can quite easily substitute the mango with pawpaw for something a little different. I often add other things like finely chopped pears to it when having with pork chops or a red chili finely sliced when having chicken breasts, so this is a base for you to start from, then just follow your taste buds.(enough for 4 people)

What you need

1 large ripe mango
3 spring onions finely chopped (you can use 1/2 a onion finely chopped)
palm of flatleaf parsley chopped
1/2 red pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
squeeze of lemon
pinch of salt

The process

Cut the mango into small cubes, finely slice the spring onion or chop the onion, red pepper, and parsley and add to a bowl.

Mix them up to combine the flavors. (If you are adding anything extra do it now)

sprinkle over a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt, squeeze over some lemon juice and gently mix to coat everything in the little juice.

Taste and season accordingly then place in the fridge covered until you need it.

Tip: The best way to cube a mango is to cut as close as possible on either side of the pip so you have 2 pieces with skin still on. Then there are 2 methods to remove the flesh.

1. Work a spoon along the inside of the skin to loosen the flesh and remove, chop it up.

2. Cut the flesh toward the skin lengthways and then horizontally to form a criss cross pattern being careful not to cut through the skin, then turn the skin up by pressing your thumbs into the base of the skin exposing the cubes, run a knife along the skin to remove. (Your kids may know these as hedgehogs- easiest way to eat a mango)

Yellow rice

Yellow rice

yellow-rice

Yellow rice

When I saw this recipe in lannices new book it brought back memories of my grandparents who always had yellow rice on the table when we went for lunch. It was really great and complimented the denningvleis recipe perfectly and would be really great with a beef curry. The cloves make a huge difference, so if you don’t have any, go out and get a box. This is perfect for 4 people.

What you need

200g regular long grain rice
50g seedless raisins (a handfull)
4 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
625ml water

heaped desserspoon of butter to finish it off.

The process

Add all of the ingredients except the butter to a pot and bring to the boil.

Immediately lower the heat to a slow simmer, stir the rice, place the lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

At this stage the water will all be absorbed, if not let it simmer for a few more minutes.

Turn off the heat, add the butter and fluff up the rice with a fork to seperate the grains and mix in the butter.

That’s it.

You can also add a handfull of frozen peas to add some colour.

Yellow rice is such a simple way to really make a good prawn curry something special or you could serve it with simply made prawns of grilled fish as I like to do.

The kids love yellow rice when I add raisins to it, there is something so much more appealing to yellow rice with raisins or peas than a pile of white rice. Try it, you won’t be sorry.

Thai corn fritters

Thai corn fritters

corn-fritters

Thai corn fritters

These are really tasty little corn fritters that are authentic Thai cuisine served with a dipping sauce. You can make them as hot as you like with the chili or leave it out completely. (4 people)

What you need

1/2 tin corn kernels (200g)
5 tablespoons Maizena
1cup flour
1 cup ice cold water (250ml)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoom pepper
2 large chilis finely chopped seeds removed

The process

Combine the flour and the maizena together in a bowl, add the water a mix to a smooth batter.

Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper and mix until the corn is evenly distributed in the batter.

Heat about 3-4cm of oil over a medium in a pan.

Drop 1 tablespoon of the batter at a time into the oil to form bite size fritters and deep fry to golden brown.

Remove and drain in a wire sieve over a pot with paper towl in the bottom of the pot. (this works better than draining on paper towel to keep them really crisp)

Serve with sweet chili sauce or a simple dipping sauce made up of, water, brown sugar, soy sauce and chopped chili.

Avocado dip

Avocado dip

avocados

Avocados

There are plenty of avocados around at this time of year and offer the simplest, healthy and very tasty dips. Its sometimes a good idea to chop part of the avo into small pieces for a chunky style dip.

What you need

1 ripe avocado mashed
3 tablespoons tomato salsa
1/4 onion grated
2 teaspoons lemon juice
pinch garlic powder
pinch onion powder
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

The process

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and served with taco chips and raw vegetables to dip.

You can quite happily smear the dip onto toast and top with some sliced tomato for a meal, or spoon some onto a salad for a more substantial meal.

Green pepper antipasto

Green pepper antipasto

antipasto

Antipasto

This is the third in the antipasto series which gives you all you need for a really fantastic summer meal. They are really easy to make and always at the ready for guests while on holiday.

What you need

3 large green peppers
3 medium onions finely sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes diced
½ cup vinegar
Pinch of salt
Olive oil

The process

Cut the peppers lengthways and remove the seeds. Slice into strips.

Add a splash of olive oil, peppers, onions, tomatoes and a pinch of salt to a pan on a low heat, cover with a lid or a plate and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

Add the vinegar, stir and allow to simmer with the lid off for another 15 minutes.

Remove and place into a bowl, cover with cling wrap and pop it into the fridge to cool.

Done, and how about a few easy pasta recipes for you to try.

Marinated mushroom antipasto

Marinated mushroom antipasto

mushroom starter

Mushroom antipasto

There is no cooking involved in this recipe and adds to the Melanzane antipasto for your summer lunch of cold eats, cheeses and bread. This type of meal is one of my favorite ways of eating, a little of this and a little of that to make a really amazing flavor.

What you need

1 punnet button mushrooms (250g)
Juice of 1 large lemon (3 tablespoons)
½ cup olive oil
Palm oc finely chopped parsley
Pinch of salt
Pinch of tarragon
Pepper

The process

Slice the button mushrooms finely after cleaning and removing the stalks.

In a bowl conbine all the rest of the ingredients, mix well, add the mushrooms and ensure that they are all covered by the marinade.

Cover the bowl with cling wrap and marinade in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Done!

There are 2 other antipasto recipes for your summer table, the eggplant antipasto and the green pepper antipasto

Eggplant antipasto

Eggplant antipasto

eggplant melanzane

Eggplant antipasto

This is a classic summery Italian dish perfect for hot weekend lunches accompanied by cold meats, cheeses and fresh bread. It is very quick to prepare and can be served warm or cold.

What you need

2 large eggplants
1 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic crushed
3 large ripe tomatoes chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
½ cup water
Salt
Pepper

The process

Thoroughly wash the skin of the eggplant and remove both ends. Slice along the length into ½ cm-1cm slices and then in half. Slice them into stick shapes that are ½ cm x ½ cm.

In a pan on a medium heat, heat the oil (yes the whole cup) and cook the eggplant in batches for about 3-4 minutes until soft, remove them and set aside.

In the same pan add garlic and tomatoes, cook for about 2 minutes stirring. Then add the tomato puree and water and cook for about another 10 minutes until the liguid has reduced and the sauce is thick.

Add back the eggplant a good grind of pepper and large pinch of salt. Mix to combine all the flavors and transfer to a dish to serve.

Try the mushroom antipasto to liven up your Italian table.

Eggplant parmigiana

Eggplant parmigiana

eggplant parmigiana

Eggplant parmigiana

Eggplant has always been a favorite of mine, whether as an extra layer in lasagna, as a vegetable or as a meal like this great recipe. You can serve with grilled chicken breast or steak or as a starter to one of the pasta recipes to complete an Italian table.

What you need

1 eggplant
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes
Palm full of chopped fresh basil
1 cup grated mozzarella
Parmesan for the topping (tablespoon or so)
Olive oil
Sugar

The process

Cut the eggplant length ways about 1 cm thick.

Stab each piece with a fork all over and rub olive oil onto both sides and place under the grill until slightly browned and soft on both sides. While these are cooking..

In a pot over a medium heat, add the garlic, tomatoes, basil and sugar and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Top each piece of eggplant with some of the tomato sauce, cover with mozzarella and grate a little parmesan over the top.

Place under the grill again until cheese has melted.

Done and delicious.

Pumpkin and spinach penne

Pumpkin and spinach penne

roast pumpkin penne

Roast pumpkin penne

here is a really nice light and healthy pasta dish as another attempt at cooking for the summer slim down. Roast pumpkin has so much natural fresh flavor that you will probably not need to season so taste before you do.

What you need

500g pumpkin cubed
1 cooked packet penne (400g)
1 Onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 packet spinach (green only) finely chopped

Olive oil
Parmesan cheese

The process

Toss the pumpkin cubes in a little olive oil and roast in a 180 Celsius oven for about 20minutes or until they are soft and the edges are beginning to brown.

heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on a medium heat and fry the onions until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and toss to combine for about 1 minute, then the spinach, mix and cook for about another 2 minutes and finally add the roasted pumpkin, toss to distribute evenly, taste and season if necessary and set aside.

Immediately add the warm cooked pasta, mix with a large spoon to coat the pasta in a little oil and distribute the mixture evenly.

Done, serve with a good grating of parmesan and black pepper.

Try some of the other easy pasta recipes.

Chunky Gazpacho

Chunky Gazpacho

Chunky Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a really healthy and tasty cold tomato based soup that is perfect for hot summer weather. You will need a blender, (hand blender will do) and you can spice it up with a little paprika or Tabasco if you like some heat. Only use fresh tomatoes, I tried with tinned tomatoes and it just did not cut it.

What you need

3 large tomatoes
1 cucumbers
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 onion
2 sticks celery with some leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 1/2 cups of tomato juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups tomato juice

The process

All you need to do is dice up all the vegetables, place them in a blender along with the liquid and blend until you get the consistency you like. taste and season.

I like it like this

Blend the onions and green pepper with the liquid first to small chunks.

Add the rest and blend, leaving some nice chunky tomato and red pepper pieces.

This will be enough for 4 and can easily be increased.